Clean Tech

Innovations to disinfect and purify the air

Preeti Mehra | Updated on November 19, 2019

Some indigenously produced solutions to tackle indoor and outdoor pollution are on the way

At any given time, over 1.4 million people worldwide suffer from nosocomial or hospital acquired infection (HAI). In India, the rate of such infections is alarmingly high at one per four hospital visits compared to one in 10 in Europe and one in 20 in the US. This is mostly caused by hospital rooms and specialised units not being adequately sterilised.

At the same time, air pollution, indoors and outdoors, continues to soar in most of our cities. In Delhi, it touches severe and hazardous levels in the winter months. Both the phenomenon of indoor and outdoor pollution has led a Bengaluru-based medical doctor and entrepreneur, Dr Kumaresh Krishnamoorthy, to help develop solutions which, when adequately scaled up, could go a long way in alleviating the situation.

As an ENT specialist with a super-speciality in head and neck cancer surgeries and in neurotology, the doctor has always kept his brain ticking with new ideas and is chief mentor to healthcare products that help people and the environment and can be indigenously produced and hence affordable. “Hospitals find it financially unviable to import large-scale equipment to sterilise hospital rooms, so we experimented with UV light to come up with an indoor purifier which will be affordable,” says Dr Krishnamoorthy who, along with engineer P Rajsekhar, has successfully tested his product at a hospital and an NABL-accredited third party lab.

The Bot was found to be effective against micro-organisms even at 20-feet distance. The product, which has an android phone or tablet interface and an intelligent app to set all the equipment operating parameters, is awaiting a patent.

Using UV light to advantage

“The most dreaded infections are MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus); C. diff (Clostridium difficile); and VRE (Vancomycin-resistant enterococci). These micro-organisms are resistant to antibiotics and are commonly referred to as ‘superbugs’. These infections cause major problems and add a significant cost to the modern health sector. Cleaning and disinfection are not effective enough due to inaccessible areas within hospital rooms,” Krishnamoorthy explains, pointing out that UV-C disinfection tops the list of solutions in the war against superbugs.

When bacteria are exposed to UV-C light, their DNA absorbs light energy and causes cell damage that kills these micro-organisms. And this is exactly what the UVC Bot does. It delivers around 1,500 watt of lethal power which can disinfect an entire room in a single cycle. “Our smart technology ensures that the same high energy lethal dosage is uniformly delivered across a room, including the often missed and hard-to-reach shadow areas, resulting in more effective germicidal power and thorough disinfection, providing an economical and effective measure in limiting the spread of bacteria,” says the doctor, elaborating that the advanced Bot is enabled with an inbuilt tracker and data collection allows for monitoring the duration of cleaning.

It even maintains a log of the rooms that have been cleaned.

Using the Bot, Krishnamoorthy is also going to undertake a detailed study along with PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore, for different micro organisms under varying concentrations and locations.

The Bot, in fact, has applications beyond hospitals. It can be used in hotels, cruise ships and even for disinfecting the blankets given out on long-distance trains. “The blankets are not being drywashed and are a source of infection. The Bot could be used to make them germ-free,” he explains.

The outdoor contraption

While Dr Krishnamoorthy is excited about the prospect of bringing down the rate of HAI in the country with the invention, the team is also busy with installing outdoor air purifiers in Bengaluru. The outdoor air purifier manufactured by Rajeev Krishna, Founder of aTechTron with environment start-up Waste2Watts as strategic partner, is a contraption that is proving to be very useful for the traffic police who bear the brunt of outdoor pollution.

The purifier has a range of 90 to 100 feet and should ideally be installed every 200 feet.

Basically, the external air purifier sucks in the air, cleans it and releases it into the atmosphere. “With R&D over the years, we have made a three-layered patented air filter. The primary filter is a three-layered nano synthetic fibre, the secondary filter is a five-layered filter composed of nano and activated charcoal and the tertiary is a double-layered one for catalytic conversion,” says the doctor.

The contraption effectively filters out PM2.5, PM10, dust, smog, odour, petroleum fumes along with reduction in VOC (volatile organic compounds), NOx (nitrogen oxides) and SOx (sulphur oxides). The filters have been designed such that they are effective in using non-clogging technology and can absorb more air pollution over prolonged exposure.

Dr Krishnamoorthy points out that the machines are weather-proof and emit no radiations such as pulse wave emission or electromagnetic frequency waves. “We are getting positive feedback from the traffic police and hope more companies set these up as their CSR projects and help to clear more of the air,” he says.

Published on November 19, 2019

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